A family away from home

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kia Atkins
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
An explosion of eggs, milk and strawberry cake mix covered the floors, walls and ceiling of the kitchen. Small flour footprints led all around the house before abruptly stopping at two doors, mine and my sister's. After using her superior detective skills and following the clues, my mother found the culprits. Needless to say, we got a "stern talking-to".

Growing up, my sister and I always did everything together, which generally involved us coming up with some ridiculous idea that would result in us both getting into massive amounts of trouble. That's why I was surprised when my sister decided to join the Air Force after she graduated high school. How could my partner in crime just leave me like that? We went from always being there for each other to seeing each other maybe once a year. I respected her choice to sign on the dotted line and serve her country, but it didn't make her being gone any easier. Though I was slightly hurt by her just deserting me like that, I was also very proud of her. So proud in fact, that I decided to follow suit and serve my country as well.

After making it through Basic Military Training, I went to technical school where I received my orders. I read my orders aloud, not believing that I was going to be stationed at the same base as my sister, Misawa Air Base.

It wasn't until I got on the plane to Japan that my nerves started to hit me. I was going to a country that was unfamiliar to me; it was scary and exciting at the same time. When I finally made it to Misawa, I was greeted by my shop and my sister. I looked her dead in the eyes as I said "so we meet again..." before pulling off my glove, slapping her in the face with it and challenging her to a duel. Just kidding. She stood beside me as I was introduced to my shop, carried my luggage and took me out for ramen. As soon as I saw her, it was like we had never been apart.

I know I lucked out by being stationed with a family member who can pick me up when I'm feeling down, but a lot of single Airmen don't have that luxury. If you see an Airman in your unit that is having a hard time, missing their family or feeling kind of homesick, it should be your responsibility as a wingman to help them out. If you feel like your fellow wingman is struggling in a way that you can't help them with, don't be afraid to reach out and tell them where to find help or if need be, go and find help for them. They may be angry at you for a while but in the end, they'll know you did it because you care about them. I'm glad I was fortunate enough to start my Air Force career with my sister and I look forward to my career in the Air Force with my new family, the Air Force family.